Whether interviewing for an internship or your next job, you'll likely be asked to talk about the work you've done in the past. It's easy enough to go over what's in your portfolio or written in your resume. But assume your interviewer has most likely reviewed what's on paper (that's probably what landed you the interview), and now they're looking for you to add color to it. Here are a few pointers to help you talk about what you've done in the most effective way.
Talk about what you did specifically.
Everyone knows that it takes a team to get any sort of advertising project done, whether it's a real campaign or a class assignment. Explain what you specifically contributed to it: what part/role did you play, and what tasks did you undertake in that role? Remember, your interviewer is looking for someone to play a particular role within the agency—they're not looking for someone who can do everything alone.
Talk about how you worked with others.
In any role, you're going to be collaborating with people on various teams with different personalities and working styles. Give a sense of how you like to work with others through the anecdotes you share. How have you collaborated or led others in the past? Your interviewer isn't just trying to figure out if you can do the work. They're looking for signs that you can work with others.
Talk about what you learned.
When you're just starting out, it's not just about getting the work done—it's also what you took away from the experience. Don't be afraid to talk about any hurdles you encountered and overcame. Focus on the circumstantial challenges ("There was so much to do in a limited amount of time") instead of personal struggles ("I had trouble managing my time and making my deadlines"). No project is ever 100% smooth sailing, and your interviewer wants to know that you're able to step up and apply your learnings to future work.
Talk about the work you actually want to do.
If your interviewer asks you to talk about your favorite project, it doesn't have to be the biggest, sexiest, or most recent one in your portfolio. Talk about the one you actually care about and that reflects the type of work you want to do. Your genuine passion for your favorite piece of work will come through. As podcast guest Kendra Croft said in Episode 4:
“You have to infuse into your work, infuse into the company. The company is getting you for your mind. As creatives, we are our minds. So showcase your strongest piece in the most authentic way.”
When thinking about how to talk about your work in an interview, ask yourself: what didn't they get from reading my portfolio or resume? And, what are they looking for outside of whether I can do the work? Jot down your thoughts on these two questions ahead of time, and you'll be well prepared to talk about what you've done—and position yourself as an awesome candidate.
You got this,